Deuteronomy 1; Deuteronomy 7; Deuteronomy 9; Deuteronomy 10; Deuteronomy 14; Deuteronomy 15; Deuteronomy 16; Deuteronomy 17; Deuteronomy 18; Deuteronomy 19; Deuteronomy 20; Deuteronomy 21; Deuteronomy 22; Deuteronomy 23; Deuteronomy 24; Deuteronomy 25; Deuteronomy 30 (The Message)

1 These are the sermons Moses preached to all Israel when they were east of the Jordan River in the Arabah Wilderness, opposite Suph, in the vicinity of Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. 2 It takes eleven days to travel from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea following the Mount Seir route. 3 It was on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year when Moses addressed the People of Israel, telling them everything God had commanded him concerning them. 4 This came after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled from Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who ruled from Ashtaroth in Edrei. 5 It was east of the Jordan in the land of Moab that Moses set out to explain this Revelation. He said: 6 Back at Horeb, God, our God, spoke to us: "You've stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 On your way now. Get moving. Head for the Amorite hills, wherever people are living in the Arabah, the mountains, the foothills, the Negev, the seashore - the Canaanite country and the Lebanon all the way to the big river, the Euphrates. 8 Look, I've given you this land. Now go in and take it. It's the land God promised to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their children after them." 9 At the time I told you, "I can't do this, can't carry you all by myself. 10 God, your God, has multiplied your numbers. Why, look at you - you rival the stars in the sky! 11 And may God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, keep it up and multiply you another thousand times, bless you just as he promised. 12 But how can I carry, all by myself, your troubles and burdens and quarrels? 13 So select some wise, understanding, and seasoned men from your tribes, and I will commission them as your leaders." 14 You answered me, "Good! A good solution." 15 So I went ahead and took the top men of your tribes, wise and seasoned, and made them your leaders - leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, officials adequate for each of your tribes. 16 At the same time I gave orders to your judges: "Listen carefully to complaints and accusations between your fellow Israelites. Judge fairly between each person and his fellow or foreigner. 17 Don't play favorites; treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each. Don't be impressed by big names. This is God's judgment you're dealing with. Hard cases you can bring to me; I'll deal with them." 18 I issued orders to you at that time regarding everything you would have to deal with. 19 Then we set out from Horeb and headed for the Amorite hill country, going through that huge and frightening wilderness that you've had more than an eyeful of by now - all under the command of God, our God - and finally arrived at Kadesh Barnea. 20 There I told you, "You've made it to the Amorite hill country that God, our God, is giving us. 21 Look, God, your God, has placed this land as a gift before you. Go ahead and take it now. God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, promised it to you. Don't be afraid. Don't lose heart." 22 But then you all came to me and said, "Let's send some men on ahead to scout out the land for us and bring back a report on the best route to take and the kinds of towns we can expect to find." 23 That seemed like a good idea to me, so I picked twelve men, one from each tribe. 24 They set out, climbing through the hills. They came to the Eshcol Valley and looked it over. 25 They took samples of the produce of the land and brought them back to us, saying, "It's a good land that God, our God, is giving us!" 26 But then you weren't willing to go up. You rebelled against God, your God's plain word. 27 You complained in your tents: "God hates us. He hauled us out of Egypt in order to dump us among the Amorites - a death sentence for sure! 28 How can we go up? We're trapped in a dead end. Our brothers took all the wind out of our sails, telling us, 'The people are bigger and stronger than we are; their cities are huge, their defenses massive - we even saw Anakite giants there!'" 29 I tried to relieve your fears: "Don't be terrified of them. 30 God, your God, is leading the way; he's fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; 31 you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. 32 But now that you're here, you won't trust God, your God - 33 this same God who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go." 34 When God heard what you said, he exploded in anger. He swore, 35 "Not a single person of this evil generation is going to get so much as a look at the good land that I promised to give to your parents. Not one - 36 except for Caleb son of Jephunneh. He'll see it. I'll give him and his descendants the land he walked on because he was all for following God, heart and soul." 37 But I also got it. Because of you God's anger spilled over onto me. He said, "You aren't getting in either. 38 Your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will go in. Build up his courage. He's the one who will claim the inheritance for Israel. 39 And your babies of whom you said, 'They'll be grabbed for plunder,' and all these little kids who right now don't even know right from wrong - they'll get in. I'll give it to them. Yes, they'll be the new owners. 40 But not you. Turn around and head back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea." 41 You spoke up, "We've sinned against God. We'll go up and fight, following all the orders that God, our God, has commanded." You took your weapons and dressed for battle - you thought it would be so easy going into those hills! 42 But God told me, "Tell them, 'Don't do it; don't go up to fight - I'm not with you in this. Your enemies will waste you.'" 43 I told you but you wouldn't listen. You rebelled at the plain word of God. You threw out your chests and strutted into the hills. 44 And those Amorites, who had lived in those hills all their lives, swarmed all over you like a hive of bees, chasing you from Seir all the way to Hormah, a stinging defeat. 45 You came back and wept in the presence of God, but he didn't pay a bit of attention to you; God didn't give you the time of day. 46 You stayed there in Kadesh a long time, about as long as you had stayed there earlier. 1 When God, your God, brings you into the country that you are about to enter and take over, he will clear out the superpowers that were there before you: the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Those seven nations are all bigger and stronger than you are. 2 God, your God, will turn them over to you and you will conquer them. You must completely destroy them, offering them up as a holy destruction to God. Don't make a treaty with them. Don't let them off in any way. 3 Don't marry them: Don't give your daughters to their sons and don't take their daughters for your sons - 4 before you know it they'd involve you in worshiping their gods, and God would explode in anger, putting a quick end to you. 5 Here's what you are to do: Tear apart their altars stone by stone, smash their phallic pillars, chop down their sex-and-religion Asherah groves, set fire to their carved god-images. 6 Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure. 7 God wasn't attracted to you and didn't choose you because you were big and important - the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. 8 He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. 10 But he also pays back those who hate him, pays them the wages of death; he isn't slow to pay them off - those who hate him, he pays right on time. 11 So keep the command and the rules and regulations that I command you today. Do them. 12 And this is what will happen: When you, on your part, will obey these directives, keeping and following them, God, on his part, will keep the covenant of loyal love that he made with your ancestors: 13 He will love you, he will bless you, he will increase you. 14 You'll be blessed beyond all other peoples: no sterility or barrenness in you or your animals. 15 God will get rid of all sickness. And all the evil afflictions you experienced in Egypt he'll put not on you but on those who hate you. 16 You'll make mincemeat of all the peoples that God, your God, hands over to you. Don't feel sorry for them. And don't worship their gods - they'll trap you for sure. 17 You're going to think to yourselves, "Oh! We're outnumbered ten to one by these nations! We'll never even make a dent in them!" 18 But I'm telling you, Don't be afraid. Remember, yes, remember in detail what God, your God, did to Pharaoh and all Egypt. 19 Remember the great contests to which you were eyewitnesses: the miracle-signs, the wonders, God's mighty hand as he stretched out his arm and took you out of there. God, your God, is going to do the same thing to these people you're now so afraid of. 20 And to top it off, the Hornet. God will unleash the Hornet on them until every survivor-in-hiding is dead. 21 So don't be intimidated by them. God, your God, is among you - God majestic, God awesome. 22 God, your God, will get rid of these nations, bit by bit. You won't be permitted to wipe them out all at once lest the wild animals take over and overwhelm you. 23 But God, your God, will move them out of your way - he'll throw them into a huge panic until there's nothing left of them. 24 He'll turn their kings over to you and you'll remove all trace of them under Heaven. Not one person will be able to stand up to you; you'll put an end to them all. 25 Make sure you set fire to their carved gods. Don't get greedy for the veneer of silver and gold on them and take it for yourselves - you'll get trapped by it for sure. God hates it; it's an abomination to God, your God. 26 And don't dare bring one of these abominations home or you'll end up just like it, burned up as a holy destruction. No: It is forbidden! Hate it. Abominate it. Destroy it and preserve God's holiness. 1 Attention, Israel! 2 gigantic people, descendants of the Anakites - you've heard all about them; you've heard the saying, "No one can stand up to an Anakite." 3 Today know this: God, your God, is crossing the river ahead of you - he's a consuming fire. He will destroy the nations, he will put them under your power. You will dispossess them and very quickly wipe them out, just as God promised you would. 4 But when God pushes them out ahead of you, don't start thinking to yourselves, "It's because of all the good I've done that God has brought me in here to dispossess these nations." Actually it's because of all the evil these nations have done. 5 No, it's nothing good that you've done, no record for decency that you've built up, that got you here; it's because of the vile wickedness of these nations that God, your God, is dispossessing them before you so that he can keep his promised word to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Know this and don't ever forget it: It's not because of any good that you've done that God is giving you this good land to own. Anything but! You're stubborn as mules. 7 Keep in mind and don't ever forget how angry you made God, your God, in the wilderness. You've kicked and screamed against God from the day you left Egypt until you got to this place, rebels all the way. 8 You made God angry at Horeb, made him so angry that he wanted to destroy you. 9 When I climbed the mountain to receive the slabs of stone, the tablets of the covenant that God made with you, I stayed there on the mountain forty days and nights: I ate no food; I drank no water. 10 Then God gave me the two slabs of stone, engraved with the finger of God. They contained word for word everything that God spoke to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. 11 It was at the end of the forty days and nights that God gave me the two slabs of stone, the tablets of the covenant. 12 God said to me, "Get going, and quickly. Get down there, because your people whom you led out of Egypt have ruined everything. In almost no time at all they have left the road that I laid out for them and gone off and made for themselves a cast god." 13 God said, "I look at this people and all I see are hardheaded, hardhearted rebels. 14 Get out of my way now so I can destroy them. I'm going to wipe them off the face of the map. Then I'll start over with you to make a nation far better and bigger than they could ever be." 15 I turned around and started down the mountain - by now the mountain was blazing with fire - carrying the two tablets of the covenant in my two arms. 16 That's when I saw it: There you were, sinning against God, your God - you had made yourselves a cast god in the shape of a calf! So soon you had left the road that God had commanded you to walk on. 17 I held the two stone slabs high and threw them down, smashing them to bits as you watched. 18 Then I prostrated myself before God, just as I had at the beginning of the forty days and nights. I ate no food; I drank no water. I did this because of you, all your sins, sinning against God, doing what is evil in God's eyes and making him angry. 19 I was terrified of God's furious anger, his blazing anger. I was sure he would destroy you. But once again God listened to me. 20 And Aaron! How furious he was with Aaron - ready to destroy him. But I prayed also for Aaron at that same time. 21 But that sin-thing that you made, that calf-god, I took and burned in the fire, pounded and ground it until it was crushed into a fine powder, then threw it into the stream that comes down the mountain. 22 And then there was Camp Taberah (Blaze), Massah (Testing-Place), and Camp Kibroth Hattaavah (Graves-of-the-Craving) - more occasions when you made God furious with you. 23 The most recent was when God sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, ordering you: "Go. Possess the land that I'm giving you." And what did you do? You rebelled. Rebelled against the clear orders of God, your God. Refused to trust him. Wouldn't obey him. 24 You've been rebels against God from the first day I knew you. 25 When I was on my face, prostrate before God those forty days and nights after God said he would destroy you, 26 I prayed to God for you, "My Master, God, don't destroy your people, your inheritance whom, in your immense generosity, you redeemed, using your enormous strength to get them out of Egypt. 27 "Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; don't make too much of the stubbornness of this people, their evil and their sin, 28 lest the Egyptians from whom you rescued them say, 'God couldn't do it; he got tired and wasn't able to take them to the land he promised them. He ended up hating them and dumped them in the wilderness to die.' 29 "They are your people still, your inheritance whom you powerfully and sovereignly rescued." 1 God responded. He said, "Shape two slabs of stone similar to the first ones. Climb the mountain and meet me. Also make yourself a wooden chest. 2 I will engrave the stone slabs with the words that were on the first ones, the ones you smashed. Then you will put them in the Chest." 3 So I made a chest out of acacia wood, shaped two slabs of stone, just like the first ones, and climbed the mountain with the two slabs in my arms. 4 He engraved the stone slabs the same as he had the first ones, the Ten Words that he addressed to you on the mountain out of the fire on the day of the assembly. Then God gave them to me. 5 I turned around and came down the mountain. I put the stone slabs in the Chest that I made and they've been there ever since, just as God commanded me. 6 The People of Israel went from the wells of the Jaakanites to Moserah. Aaron died there and was buried. His son Eleazar succeeded him as priest. 7 From there they went to Gudgodah, and then to Jotbathah, a land of streams of water. 8 That's when God set apart the tribe of Levi to carry God's Covenant Chest, to be on duty in the Presence of God, to serve him, and to bless in his name, as they continue to do today. 9 And that's why Levites don't have a piece of inherited land as their kinsmen do. God is their inheritance, as God, your God, promised them. 10 I stayed there on the mountain forty days and nights, just as I did the first time. And God listened to me, just as he did the first time: God decided not to destroy you. 11 God told me, "Now get going. Lead your people as they resume the journey to take possession of the land that I promised their ancestors that I'd give to them." 12 So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, 13 obey the commandments and regulations of God that I'm commanding you today - live a good life. 14 Look around you: Everything you see is God's - the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. 15 But it was your ancestors that God fell in love with; he picked their children - that's you! - out of all the other peoples. That's where we are right now. 16 So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. 17 God, your God, is the God of all gods, he's the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn't play favorites, takes no bribes, 18 makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing. 19 You must treat foreigners with the same loving care - remember, you were once foreigners in Egypt. 20 Reverently respect God, your God, serve him, hold tight to him, back up your promises with the authority of his name. 21 He's your praise! He's your God! He did all these tremendous, these staggering things that you saw with your own eyes. 22 When your ancestors entered Egypt, they numbered a mere seventy souls. And now look at you - you look more like the stars in the night skies in number. And your God did it. 1 You are children of God, your God, so don't mutilate your bodies or shave your heads in funeral rites for the dead. 2 You only are a people holy to God, your God; God chose you out of all the people on Earth as his cherished personal treasure. 3 Don't eat anything abominable. 4 These are the animals you may eat: ox, sheep, goat, 5 deer, gazelle, roebuck, wild goat, ibex, antelope, mountain sheep - 6 any animal that has a cloven hoof and chews the cud. 7 But you may not eat camels, rabbits, and rock badgers because they chew the cud but they don't have a cloven hoof - that makes them ritually unclean. 8 And pigs: Don't eat pigs - they have a cloven hoof but don't chew the cud, which makes them ritually unclean. Don't even touch a pig's carcass. 9 This is what you may eat from the water: anything that has fins and scales. 10 But if it doesn't have fins or scales, you may not eat it. It's ritually unclean. 11 You may eat any ritually clean bird. 12 These are the exceptions, so don't eat these: eagle, vulture, black vulture, 13 kite, falcon, the buzzard family, 14 the raven family, 15 ostrich, nighthawk, the hawk family, 16 little owl, great owl, white owl, 17 pelican, osprey, cormorant, 18 stork, the heron family, hoopoe, bat. 19 Winged insects are ritually unclean; don't eat them. 20 But ritually clean winged creatures are permitted. 21 Because you are a people holy to God, your God, don't eat anything that you find dead. You can, though, give it to a foreigner in your neighborhood for a meal or sell it to a foreigner. Don't boil a kid in its mother's milk. 22 Make an offering of ten percent, a tithe, of all the produce which grows in your fields year after year. 23 Bring this into the Presence of God, your God, at the place he designates for worship and there eat the tithe from your grain, wine, and oil and the firstborn from your herds and flocks. In this way you will learn to live in deep reverence before God, your God, as long as you live. 24 But if the place God, your God, designates for worship is too far away and you can't carry your tithe that far, God, your God, will still bless you: 25 exchange your tithe for money and take the money to the place God, your God, has chosen to be worshiped. 26 Use the money to buy anything you want: cattle, sheep, wine, or beer - anything that looks good to you. You and your family can then feast in the Presence of God, your God, and have a good time. 27 Meanwhile, don't forget to take good care of the Levites who live in your towns; they won't get any property or inheritance of their own as you will. 28 At the end of every third year, gather the tithe from all your produce of that year and put it aside in storage. 29 Keep it in reserve for the Levite who won't get any property or inheritance as you will, and for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow who live in your neighborhood. That way they'll have plenty to eat and God, your God, will bless you in all your work. 1 At the end of every seventh year, cancel all debts. 2 This is the procedure: Everyone who has lent money to a neighbor writes it off. You must not press your neighbor or his brother for payment: All-Debts-Are-Canceled - God says so. 3 You may collect payment from foreigners, but whatever you have lent to your fellow Israelite you must write off. 4 There must be no poor people among you because God is going to bless you lavishly in this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance, your very own land. 5 But only if you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, diligently observing every commandment that I command you today. 6 Oh yes - God, your God, will bless you just as he promised. You will lend to many nations but won't borrow from any; you'll rule over many nations but none will rule over you. 7 When you happen on someone who's in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don't look the other way pretending you don't see him. Don't keep a tight grip on your purse. 8 No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. 9 Don't count the cost. Don't listen to that selfish voice saying, "It's almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled," and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He'll call God's attention to you and your blatant sin. 10 Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. 11 There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. 12 If a Hebrew man or Hebrew woman was sold to you and has served you for six years, in the seventh year you must set him or her free, released into a free life. 13 And when you set them free don't send them off empty-handed. 14 Provide them with some animals, plenty of bread and wine and oil. Load them with provisions from all the blessings with which God, your God, has blessed you. 15 Don't for a minute forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, redeemed you from that slave world. For that reason, this day I command you to do this. 16 But if your slave, because he loves you and your family and has a good life with you, says, "I don't want to leave you," 17 then take an awl and pierce through his earlobe into the doorpost, marking him as your slave forever. Do the same with your women slaves who want to stay with you. 18 Don't consider this an unreasonable hardship, this setting your slave free. After all, he's worked six years for you at half the cost of a hired hand. Believe me, God, your God, will bless you in everything you do. 19 Consecrate to God, your God, all the firstborn males in your herds and flocks. Don't use the firstborn from your herds as work animals; don't shear the firstborn from your flocks. 20 These are for you to eat every year, you and your family, in the Presence of God, your God, at the place that God designates for worship. 21 If the animal is defective, lame, say, or blind - anything wrong with it - don't slaughter it as a sacrifice to God, your God. 22 Stay at home and eat it there. Both the ritually clean and unclean may eat it, the same as with a gazelle or a deer. 23 Only you must not eat its blood. Pour the blood out on the ground like water. 1 Observe the month of Abib by celebrating the Passover to God, your God. It was in the month of Abib that God, your God, delivered you by night from Egypt. 2 Offer the Passover-Sacrifice to God, your God, at the place God chooses to be worshiped by establishing his name there. 3 Don't eat yeast bread with it; for seven days eat it with unraised bread, hard-times bread, because you left Egypt in a hurry - that bread will keep the memory fresh of how you left Egypt for as long as you live. 4 There is to be no sign of yeast anywhere for seven days. And don't let any of the meat that you sacrifice in the evening be left over until morning. 5 Don't sacrifice the Passover in any of the towns that God, your God, gives you 6 other than the one God, your God, designates for worship; there and there only you will offer the Passover-Sacrifice at evening as the sun goes down, marking the time that you left Egypt. 7 Boil and eat it at the place designated by God, your God. Then, at daybreak, turn around and go home. 8 Eat unraised bread for six days. Set aside the seventh day as a holiday; don't do any work. 9 Starting from the day you put the sickle to the ripe grain, count out seven weeks. 10 Celebrate the Feast-of-Weeks to God, your God, by bringing your Freewill-Offering - give as generously as God, your God, has blessed you. 11 Rejoice in the Presence of God, your God: you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, the Levite who lives in your neighborhood, the foreigner, the orphan and widow among you; rejoice at the place God, your God, will set aside to be worshiped. 12 Don't forget that you were once a slave in Egypt. So be diligent in observing these regulations. 13 Observe the Feast-of-Booths for seven days when you gather the harvest from your threshing-floor and your wine-vat. 14 Rejoice at your festival: you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, the Levite, the foreigner, and the orphans and widows who live in your neighborhood. 15 Celebrate the Feast to God, your God, for seven days at the place God designates. God, your God, has been blessing you in your harvest and in all your work, so make a day of it - really celebrate! 16 All your men must appear before God, your God, three times each year at the place he designates: at the Feast-of-Unraised-Bread (Passover), at the Feast-of-Weeks, and at the Feast-of-Booths. No one is to show up in the Presence of God empty-handed; 17 each man must bring as much as he can manage, giving generously in response to the blessings of God, your God. 18 Appoint judges and officers, organized by tribes, in all the towns that God, your God, is giving you. They are to judge the people fairly and honestly. 19 Don't twist the law. Don't play favorites. Don't take a bribe - a bribe blinds even a wise person; it undermines the intentions of the best of people. 20 The right! The right! Pursue only what's right! It's the only way you can really live and possess the land that God, your God, is giving you. 21 Don't plant fertility Asherah trees alongside the Altar of God, your God, that you build. 22 Don't set up phallic sex pillars - God, your God, hates them. 1 And don't sacrifice to God, your God, an ox or sheep that is defective or has anything at all wrong with it. That's an abomination, an insult to God, your God. 2 If you find anyone within the towns that God, your God, is giving you doing what is wrong in God's eyes, breaking his covenant 3 by going off to worship other gods, bowing down to them - the sun, say, or the moon, or any rebel sky-gods - 4 look at the evidence and investigate carefully. If you find that it is true, that, in fact, an abomination has been committed in Israel, 5 then you are to take the man or woman who did this evil thing outside your city gates and stone the man or the woman. Hurl stones at the person until dead. 6 But only on the testimony of two or three witnesses may a person be put to death. No one may be put to death on the testimony of one witness. 7 The witnesses must throw the first stones in the execution, then the rest of the community joins in. You have to purge the evil from your community. 8 When matters of justice come up that are too much for you - hard cases regarding homicides, legal disputes, fights - take them up to the central place of worship that God, your God, has designated. 9 Bring them to the Levitical priests and the judge who is in office at the time. Consult them and they will hand down the decision for you. 10 Then carry out their verdict at the place designated by God, your God. Do what they tell you, in exactly the way they tell you. 11 Follow their instructions precisely: Don't leave out anything; don't add anything. 12 Anyone who presumes to override or twist the decision handed down by the priest or judge who was acting in the Presence of God, your God, is as good as dead - root him out, rid Israel of the evil. 13 Everyone will take notice and be impressed. That will put an end to presumptuous behavior. 14 When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you and take it over and settle down, and then say, "I'm going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me," 15 make sure you get yourself a king whom God, your God, chooses. Choose your king from among your kinsmen; don't take a foreigner - only a kinsman. 16 And make sure he doesn't build up a war machine, amassing military horses and chariots. He must not send people to Egypt to get more horses, because God told you, "You'll never go back there again!" 17 And make sure he doesn't build up a harem, collecting wives who will divert him from the straight and narrow. And make sure he doesn't pile up a lot of silver and gold. 18 This is what must be done: When he sits down on the throne of his kingdom, the first thing he must do is make himself a copy of this Revelation on a scroll, copied under the supervision of the Levitical priests. 19 That scroll is to remain at his side at all times; he is to study it every day so that he may learn what it means to fear his God, living in reverent obedience before these rules and regulations by following them. 20 He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions. If he reads and learns, he will have a long reign as king in Israel, he and his sons. 1 The Levitical priests - that's the entire tribe of Levi - don't get any land-inheritance with the rest of Israel. They get the Fire-Gift-Offerings of God - they will live on that inheritance. 2 But they don't get land-inheritance like the rest of their kinsmen. God is their inheritance. 3 This is what the priests get from the people from any offering of an ox or a sheep: the shoulder, the two cheeks, and the stomach. 4 You must also give them the firstfruits of your grain, wine, and oil and the first fleece of your sheep, 5 because God, your God, has chosen only them and their children out of all your tribes to be present and serve always in the name of God, your God. 6 If a Levite moves from any town in Israel - and he is quite free to move wherever he desires - and comes to the place God designates for worship, 7 he may serve there in the name of God along with all his brother Levites who are present and serving in the Presence of God. 8 And he will get an equal share to eat, even though he has money from the sale of his parents' possessions. 9 When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you, don't take on the abominable ways of life of the nations there. 10 Don't you dare sacrifice your son or daughter in the fire. Don't practice divination, sorcery, fortunetelling, witchery, 11 casting spells, holding séances, or channeling with the dead. 12 People who do these things are an abomination to God. It's because of just such abominable practices that God, your God, is driving these nations out before you. 13 Be completely loyal to God, your God. 14 These nations that you're about to run out of the country consort with sorcerers and witches. But not you. God, your God, forbids it. 15 God, your God, is going to raise up a prophet for you. God will raise him up from among your kinsmen, a prophet like me. Listen obediently to him. 16 This is what you asked God, your God, for at Horeb on the day you were all gathered at the mountain and said, "We can't hear any more from God, our God; we can't stand seeing any more fire. We'll die!" 17 And God said to me, "They're right; they've spoken the truth. 18 I'll raise up for them a prophet like you from their kinsmen. I'll tell him what to say and he will pass on to them everything I command him. 19 And anyone who won't listen to my words spoken by him, I will personally hold responsible. 20 "But any prophet who fakes it, who claims to speak in my name something I haven't commanded him to say, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die." 21 You may be wondering among yourselves, "How can we tell the difference, whether it was God who spoke or not?" Here's how: 22 If what the prophet spoke in God's name doesn't happen, then obviously God wasn't behind it; the prophet made it up. Forget about him. 1 When God, your God, throws the nations out of the country that God, your God, is giving you and you settle down in their cities and houses, 2 you are to set aside three easily accessible cities in the land that God, your God, is giving you as your very own. 3 Divide your land into thirds, this land that God, your God, is giving you to possess, and build roads to the towns so that anyone who accidentally kills another can flee there. 4 This is the guideline for the murderer who flees there to take refuge: He has to have killed his neighbor without premeditation and with no history of bad blood between them. 5 For instance, a man goes with his neighbor into the woods to cut a tree; he swings the ax, the head slips off the handle and hits his neighbor, killing him. He may then flee to one of these cities and save his life. 6 If the city is too far away, the avenger of blood racing in hot-blooded pursuit might catch him since it's such a long distance, and kill him even though he didn't deserve it. It wasn't his fault. There was no history of hatred between them. 7 Therefore I command you: Set aside the three cities for yourselves. 8 When God, your God, enlarges your land, extending its borders as he solemnly promised your ancestors, by giving you the whole land he promised them 9 because you are diligently living the way I'm commanding you today, namely, to love God, your God, and do what he tells you all your life; and when that happens, then add three more to these three cities 10 so that there is no chance of innocent blood being spilled in your land. God, your God, is giving you this land as an inheritance - you don't want to pollute it with innocent blood and bring bloodguilt upon yourselves. 11 On the other hand, if a man with a history of hatred toward his neighbor waits in ambush, then jumps him, mauls and kills him, and then runs to one of these cities, that's a different story. 12 The elders of his own city are to send for him and have him brought back. They are to hand him over to the avenger of blood for execution. 13 Don't feel sorry for him. Clean out the pollution of wrongful murder from Israel so that you'll be able to live well and breathe clean air. 14 Don't move your neighbor's boundary markers, the longstanding landmarks set up by your pioneer ancestors defining their property. 15 You cannot convict anyone of a crime or sin on the word of one witness. You need two or three witnesses to make a case. 16 If a hostile witness stands to accuse someone of a wrong, 17 then both parties involved in the quarrel must stand in the Presence of God before the priests and judges who are in office at that time. 18 The judges must conduct a careful investigation; if the witness turns out to be a false witness and has lied against his fellow Israelite, 19 give him the same medicine he intended for the other party. Clean the polluting evil from your company. 20 People will hear of what you've done and be impressed; that will put a stop to this kind of evil among you. 21 Don't feel sorry for the person: It's life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. 1 When you go to war against your enemy and see horses and chariots and soldiers far outnumbering you, do not recoil in fear of them; God, your God, who brought you up out of Egypt is with you. 2 When the battle is about to begin, let the priest come forward and speak to the troops. 3 He'll say, "Attention, Israel. In a few minutes you're going to do battle with your enemies. Don't waver in resolve. Don't fear. Don't hesitate. Don't panic. 4 God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win." 5 Then let the officers step up and speak to the troops: "Is there a man here who has built a new house but hasn't yet dedicated it? Let him go home right now lest he die in battle and another man dedicate it. 6 And is there a man here who has planted a vineyard but hasn't yet enjoyed the grapes? Let him go home right now lest he die in battle and another man enjoy the grapes. 7 Is there a man here engaged to marry who hasn't yet taken his wife? Let him go home right now lest he die in battle and another man take her." 8 The officers will then continue, "And is there a man here who is wavering in resolve and afraid? Let him go home right now so that he doesn't infect his fellows with his timidity and cowardly spirit." 9 When the officers have finished speaking to the troops, let them appoint commanders of the troops who shall muster them by units. 10 When you come up against a city to attack it, call out, "Peace?" 11 If they answer, "Yes, peace!" and open the city to you, then everyone found there will be conscripted as forced laborers and work for you. 12 But if they don't settle for peace and insist on war, then go ahead and attack. 13 God, your God, will give them to you. Kill all the men with your swords. 14 But don't kill the women and children and animals. Everything inside the town you can take as plunder for you to use and eat - God, your God, gives it to you. 15 This is the way you deal with the distant towns, the towns that don't belong to the nations at hand. 16 But with the towns of the people that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance, it's different: don't leave anyone alive. 17 Consign them to holy destruction: the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, obeying the command of God, your God. 18 This is so there won't be any of them left to teach you to practice the abominations that they engage in with their gods and you end up sinning against God, your God. 19 When you mount an attack on a town and the siege goes on a long time, don't start cutting down the trees, swinging your axes against them. Those trees are your future food; don't cut them down. Are trees soldiers who come against you with weapons? 20 The exception can be those trees which don't produce food; you can chop them down and use the timbers to build siege engines against the town that is resisting you until it falls. 1 If a dead body is found on the ground, this ground that God, your God, has given you, lying out in the open, and no one knows who killed him, 2 your leaders and judges are to go out and measure the distance from the body to the nearest cities. 3 The leaders and judges of the city that is nearest the corpse will then take a heifer that has never been used for work, never had a yoke on it. 4 The leaders will take the heifer to a valley with a stream, a valley that has never been plowed or planted, and there break the neck of the heifer. 5 The Levitical priests will then step up. God has chosen them to serve him in these matters by settling legal disputes and violent crimes and by pronouncing blessings in God's name. 6 Finally, all the leaders of that town that is nearest the body will wash their hands over the heifer that had its neck broken at the stream 7 and say, "We didn't kill this man and we didn't see who did it. 8 Purify your people Israel whom you redeemed, O God. Clear your people Israel from any guilt in this murder." 9 By following these procedures you will have absolved yourselves of any part in the murder because you will have done what is right in God's sight. 10 When you go to war against your enemies and God, your God, gives you victory and you take prisoners, 11 and then you notice among the prisoners of war a good-looking woman whom you find attractive and would like to marry, 12 this is what you do: Take her home; have her trim her hair, cut her nails, 13 and discard the clothes she was wearing when captured. She is then to stay in your home for a full month, mourning her father and mother. Then you may go to bed with her as husband and wife. 14 If it turns out you don't like her, you must let her go and live wherever she wishes. But you can't sell her or use her as a slave since you've humiliated her. 15 When a man has two wives, one loved and the other hated, and they both give him sons, but the firstborn is from the hated wife, 16 at the time he divides the inheritance with his sons he must not treat the son of the loved wife as the firstborn, cutting out the son of the hated wife, who is the actual firstborn. 17 No, he must acknowledge the inheritance rights of the real firstborn, the son of the hated wife, by giving him a double share of the inheritance: that son is the first proof of his virility; the rights of the firstborn belong to him. 18 When a man has a stubborn son, a real rebel who won't do a thing his mother and father tell him, and even though they discipline him he still won't obey, 19 his father and mother shall forcibly bring him before the leaders at the city gate 20 and say to the city fathers, "This son of ours is a stubborn rebel; he won't listen to a thing we say. He's a glutton and a drunk." 21 Then all the men of the town are to throw rocks at him until he's dead. You will have purged the evil pollution from among you. All Israel will hear what's happened and be in awe. 22 When a man has committed a capital crime, been given the death sentence, executed and hung from a tree, 23 don't leave his dead body hanging overnight from the tree. Give him a decent burial that same day so that you don't desecrate your God-given land - a hanged man is an insult to God. 1 If you see your kinsman's ox or sheep wandering off loose, don't look the other way as if you didn't see it. Return it promptly. 2 If your fellow Israelite is not close by or you don't know whose it is, take the animal home with you and take care of it until your fellow asks about it. Then return it to him. 3 Do the same if it's his donkey or a piece of clothing or anything else your fellow Israelite loses. Don't look the other way as if you didn't see it. 4 If you see your fellow's donkey or ox injured along the road, don't look the other way. Help him get it up and on its way. 5 A woman must not wear a man's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing. This kind of thing is an abomination to God, your God. 6 When you come across a bird's nest alongside the road, whether in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, don't take the mother with the young. 7 You may take the babies, but let the mother go so that you will live a good and long life. 8 When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof to make it safe so that someone doesn't fall off and die and your family become responsible for the death. 9 Don't plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard. If you do, you will forfeit what you've sown, the total production of the vineyard. 10 Don't plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together. 11 Don't wear clothes of mixed fabrics, wool and linen together. 12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you use to cover yourself. 13 If a man marries a woman, sleeps with her, and then turns on her, 14 calling her a slut, giving her a bad name, saying, "I married this woman, but when I slept with her I discovered she wasn't a virgin," 15 then the father and mother of the girl are to take her with the proof of her virginity to the town leaders at the gate. 16 The father is to tell the leaders, "I gave my daughter to this man as wife and he turned on her, rejecting her. 17 And now he has slanderously accused her, claiming that she wasn't a virgin. But look at this, here is the proof of my daughter's virginity." And then he is to spread out her blood-stained wedding garment before the leaders for their examination. 18 The town leaders then are to take the husband, whip him, 19 fine him a hundred pieces of silver, and give it to the father of the girl. The man gave a virgin girl of Israel a bad name. He has to keep her as his wife and can never divorce her. 20 But if it turns out that the accusation is true and there is no evidence of the girl's virginity, 21 the men of the town are to take her to the door of her father's house and stone her to death. She acted disgracefully in Israel. She lived like a whore while still in her parents' home. Purge the evil from among you. 22 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both must die. Purge that evil from Israel. 23 If a man comes upon a virgin in town, a girl who is engaged to another man, and sleeps with her, 24 take both of them to the town gate and stone them until they die - the girl because she didn't yell out for help in the town and the man because he raped her, violating the fiancŽe of his neighbor. You must purge the evil from among you. 25 But if it was out in the country that the man found the engaged girl and grabbed and raped her, only the man is to die, the man who raped her. 26 Don't do anything to the girl; she did nothing wrong. This is similar to the case of a man who comes across his neighbor out in the country and murders him; 27 when the engaged girl yelled out for help, there was no one around to hear or help her. 28 When a man comes upon a virgin who has never been engaged and grabs and rapes her and they are found out, 29 the man who raped her has to give her father fifty pieces of silver. He has to marry her because he took advantage of her. And he can never divorce her. 30 A man may not marry his father's ex-wife - that would violate his father's rights. 1 No eunuch is to enter the congregation of God. 2 No bastard is to enter the congregation of God, even to the tenth generation, nor any of his children. 3 No Ammonite or Moabite is to enter the congregation of God, even to the tenth generation, nor any of his children, ever. 4 Those nations didn't treat you with hospitality on your travels out of Egypt, and on top of that they also hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Mesopotamia to curse you 5 God, your God, refused to listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing - how God, your God, loves you! 6 Don't even try to get along with them or do anything for them, ever. 7 But don't spurn an Edomite; he's your kin. And don't spurn an Egyptian; you were a foreigner in his land. 8 Children born to Edomites and Egyptians may enter the congregation of God in the third generation. 9 When you are camped out, at war with your enemies, be careful to keep yourself from anything ritually defiling. 10 If one of your men has become ritually unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he must go outside the camp and stay there 11 until evening when he can wash himself, returning to the camp at sunset. 12 Mark out an area outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourselves. 13 Along with your weapons have a stick with you. After you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the stick and cover your excrement. 14 God, your God, strolls through your camp; he's present to deliver you and give you victory over your enemies. Keep your camp holy; don't permit anything indecent or offensive in God's eyes 15 Don't return a runaway slave to his master; he's come to you for refuge. 16 Let him live wherever he wishes within the protective gates of your city. Don't take advantage of him. 17 No daughter of Israel is to become a sacred prostitute; and no son of Israel is to become a sacred prostitute. 18 And don't bring the fee of a sacred whore or the earnings of a priest-pimp to the house of God, your God, to pay for any vow - they are both an abomination to God, your God. 19 Don't charge interest to your kinsmen on any loan: not for money or food or clothing or anything else that could earn interest 20 You may charge foreigners interest, but you may not charge your brothers interest; that way God, your God, will bless all the work that you take up and the land that you are entering to possess. 21 When you make a vow to God, your God, don't put off keeping it; God, your God, expects you to keep it and if you don't you're guilty 22 But if you don't make a vow in the first place, there's no sin. 23 If you say you're going to do something, do it. Keep the vow you willingly vowed to God, your God. You promised it, so do it. 24 When you enter your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want until you're full, but you may not put any in your bucket or bag. 25 And when you walk through the ripe grain of your neighbor, you may pick the heads of grain, but you may not swing your sickle there. 1 If a man marries a woman and then it happens that he no longer likes her because he has found something wrong with her, he may give her divorce papers, put them in her hand, and send her off. 2 After she leaves, if she becomes another man's wife 3 and he also comes to hate her and this second husband also gives her divorce papers, puts them in her hand, and sends her off, or if he should die, 4 then the first husband who divorced her can't marry her again. She has made herself ritually unclean, and her remarriage would be an abomination in the Presence of God and defile the land with sin, this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance. 5 When a man takes a new wife, he is not to go out with the army or be given any business or work duties. He gets one year off simply to be at home making his wife happy. 6 Don't seize a handmill or an upper millstone as collateral for a loan. You'd be seizing someone's very life. 7 If a man is caught kidnapping one of his kinsmen, someone of the People of Israel, to enslave or sell him, the kidnapper must die. Purge that evil from among you. 8 Warning! If a serious skin disease breaks out, follow exactly the rules set down by the Levitical priests. Follow them precisely as I commanded them. 9 Don't forget what God, your God, did to Miriam on your way out of Egypt. 10 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, don't enter his house to claim his pledge. 11 Wait outside. Let the man to whom you made the pledge bring the pledge to you outside. 12 And if he is destitute, don't use his cloak as a bedroll; 13 return it to him at nightfall so that he can sleep in his cloak and bless you. In the sight of God, your God, that will be viewed as a righteous act. 14 Don't abuse a laborer who is destitute and needy, whether he is a fellow Israelite living in your land and in your city. 15 Pay him at the end of each workday; he's living from hand to mouth and needs it now. If you hold back his pay, he'll protest to God and you'll have sin on your books. 16 Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor children for their parents. Each person shall be put to death for his own sin. 17 Make sure foreigners and orphans get their just rights. Don't take the cloak of a widow as security for a loan. 18 Don't ever forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there. I command you: Do what I'm telling you. 19 When you harvest your grain and forget a sheaf back in the field, don't go back and get it; leave it for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that God, your God, will bless you in all your work. 20 When you shake the olives off your trees, don't go back over the branches and strip them bare - what's left is for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. 21 And when you cut the grapes in your vineyard, don't take every last grape - leave a few for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. 22 Don't ever forget that you were a slave in Egypt. I command you: Do what I'm telling you. 1 When men have a legal dispute, let them go to court; the judges will decide between them, declaring one innocent and the other guilty. 2 If the guilty one deserves punishment, the judge will have him prostrate himself before him and lashed as many times as his crime deserves, 3 but not more than forty. If you hit him more than forty times, you will degrade him to something less than human. 4 Don't muzzle an ox while it is threshing. 5 When brothers are living together and one of them dies without having had a son, the widow of the dead brother shall not marry a stranger from outside the family; her husband's brother is to come to her and marry her and do the brother-in-law's duty by her. 6 The first son that she bears shall be named after her dead husband so his name won't die out in Israel. 7 But if the brother doesn't want to marry his sister-in-law, she is to go to the leaders at the city gate and say, "My brother-in-law refuses to keep his brother's name alive in Israel; he won't agree to do the brother-in-law's duty by me." 8 Then the leaders will call for the brother and confront him. If he stands there defiant and says, "I don't want her," 9 his sister-in-law is to pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and say, "This is what happens to the man who refuses to build up the family of his brother 10 - his name in Israel will be Family-No-Sandal." 11 When two men are in a fight and the wife of the one man, trying to rescue her husband, grabs the genitals of the man hitting him, 12 you are to cut off her hand. Show no pity. 13 Don't carry around with you two weights, one heavy and the other light, 14 and don't keep two measures at hand, one large and the other small. 15 Use only one weight, a true and honest weight, and one measure, a true and honest measure, so that you will live a long time on the land that God, your God, is giving you. 16 Dishonest weights and measures are an abomination to God, your God - all this corruption in business deals! 17 Don't forget what Amalek did to you on the road after you left Egypt, 18 how he attacked you when you were tired, barely able to put one foot in front of another, mercilessly cut off your stragglers, and had no regard for God. 19 When God, your God, gives you rest from all the enemies that surround you in the inheritance-land God, your God, is giving you to possess, you are to wipe the name of Amalek from off the Earth. Don't forget! 1 Here's what will happen. While you're out among the nations where God has dispersed you and the blessings and curses come in just the way I have set them before you, and you and your children take them seriously 2 and come back to God, your God, and obey him with your whole heart and soul according to everything that I command you today, 3 God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he'll have compassion on you; he'll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. 4 No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there 5 and bring you back to the land your ancestors once possessed. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than your ancestors. 6 God, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children's hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live. 7 God, your God, will put all these curses on your enemies who hated you and were out to get you. 8 And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his commandments that I'm commanding you today. 9 God, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you: you'll have babies, get calves, grow crops, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors. 10 But only if you listen obediently to God, your God, and keep the commandments and regulations written in this Book of Revelation. Nothing halfhearted here; you must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back. 11 This commandment that I'm commanding you today isn't too much for you, it's not out of your reach. 12 It's not on a high mountain - you don't have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. 13 And it's not across the ocean - you don't have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. 14 No. The word is right here and now - as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it! 15 Look at what I've done for you today: I've placed in front of you Life and Good Death and Evil. 16 And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess. 17 But I warn you: If you have a change of heart, refuse to listen obediently, and willfully go off to serve and worship other gods, 18 you will most certainly die. You won't last long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. 20 And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
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